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Gatland upbeat about injured Lions trio

© AFP/File | Sam Warburton, pictured in 2015, currently has a knee injury

LONDON (AFP) - 

British and Irish Lions coach Warren Gatland gave an optimistic fitness update on injured trio Sam Warburton, Conor Murray and Alun Wyn Jones on Wednesday.

The three players were last month named in a 41-man squad for the Lions' tour of New Zealand in June and July, with Wales flanker Warburton appointed captain.

Warburton currently has a knee injury, while Ireland scrum-half Murray and Welsh lock Jones are nursing shoulder problems, but Gatland is hopeful they will all be fit to tour.

"He (Warburton) is good," Gatland told Sky Sports News HQ.

"I spoke to Sam yesterday and he feels that he could play now, so he has made some really good progress and is really happy with how he has responded to treatment over the last few weeks.

"I expect him to play before he goes to New Zealand.

"(Jones) is making good progress as well. (Lions assistant coach) Steve Borthwick went down and saw him last week and he's confident that he is going to be OK as well.

"Conor Murray, the prognosis with him looks pretty positive in terms of hopefully getting back and getting a game for Munster as well. That will be good for him over the next few weeks if he can get a game."

The Lions depart for Auckland on May 29 and play the New Zealand Barbarians in their first warm-up match on June 3.

Their three-Test series with world champions New Zealand begins in Auckland on June 24.

© 2017 AFP